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Home / Oral / White Spots on Tonsils | Causes, Symptoms & Natural Remedy

White Spots on Tonsils | Causes, Symptoms & Natural Remedy


Best ways to get rid of White Spots on Tonsils

What are white spots on tonsils?

Tonsils are most commonly referred to a group of lymphoid tissues in almond shape which are the part of lymphatic system situated at either side of the back of the human throat in aerodigestive tract. They are lymph nodes that have a defensive function.

 They produce white blood cells that are the part of the immune system of the body that fight against the bacteria and viruses which enter the body.

Tonsils may undergo infection (a condition called as tonsillitis) with big or small white spots, patches or dots on them and other common symptoms at any stage of life leading to serious complications if left untreated.


There are several types of tonsils including,

(i) Adenoids, located on the roof of the pharynx.

(ii) Tubal tonsils, located in the roof of the pharynx.

(iii) Palatine tonsils, located at the sides of oropharynx between palatoglossal and palatopharyngeal arches,

 (iv) and Lingual tonsils, located behind terminal sulcus. 

The white spots on tonsils consist of fragments of bacteria, mucus, food particles and dead cells. As tonsils consist of several crevices, the debris gets trapped and may harden causing white spots.  There are several types of tonsils’ infection depending upon the frequency of times the infection occurs i.e. recurrent when multiple episodes of infection occur and are acute. Similarly when symptoms last for three days to about two weeks or persist beyond two weeks, then it’s chronic.

What are symptoms of white spots on tonsils?

The common symptoms associated with tonsil infection are painful swallowing, a sore throat with irritation (a primary symptom), fever, difficulty breathing, earaches, headache, swollen white spots on tonsils, stiff jaw and neck, hoarseness with a dry throat, lesions on tongue, inner cheek or gums coughing, sneezing, altered taste, etc. 

At first, the tonsils will have gray, white layer and later on appear in white patches covering the tonsils. Sometimes the tonsil may have a white spot without any other notable symptom like pain, swallowing or fever. It may be a viral infection or a malignant growth that will clear up on their own.

White Spots on Tonsils

 What are the causes of white spots on tonsils?

Here are some of the causes!

(i) Children are exposed to some microorganisms during play and school, so they are more vulnerable to white spots on tonsils (tonsillitis).

(ii) Those with the weak immune system due to HIV, cancer or other human diseases are more likely to have white spots.

(iii) According to a  research white spots on tonsils is most commonly caused by viruses. A virus such as Epstein-Barr, causing flu and common cold may cause tonsil infection.

(iv) According to AAFP estimation, 15-30% of tonsillitis is caused by streptococcus bacteria.

(v) Candida species may also cause white spots on tonsils following oral thrush when the level of candida albicans in our body get an imbalance.

 (vi) Mononucleosis, a viral infection may cause a sore throat and pus-covered swollen tonsils.

 (vii) Diphtheria a respiratory infection caused by bacteria affects throat including inflammation of lymph nodes. Children over the age of five are more likely to face diphtheria.

(viii) Vincent’s angina, a condition referring ulcer formation on tonsils and oral cavity may cause painful white blotches. The ulcer begins and continues to spread and may bleed eventually on slightest touch which causes white spots on tonsils.

(ix) Viral pharyngitis, an infection of pharynx causes the tonsils to swell with a pus formation and white spot later on.

(x) Sexually transmitted diseases can cause white spots including herpes simplex, HIV, gonorrhea, etc.

(xi) Smoking can cause oral cancer following leukoplakia (with white spots on tongue, mouth, and tonsils).

(xii) Seasonal allergies can cause such white spots too.

Diagnosis of white spots on tonsils:

If you suspect white spots on tonsils with severe symptoms visit the doctor for proper treatment. He will undergo a mouth or throat check up looking for the signs of inflammation, redness and white spots on lymph nodes. He will refer a blood test, a strep test or a test for mononucleosis.


Natural remedies for white spots on tonsils:

In most cases, the white spotted tonsils may get better with self-care and home remedies without requiring any emergency treatment.

(i) One of the best commonly used home remedies is gurgling with salt in lukewarm water. It helps clean out the throat and prevents from further infection on tonsils.

(ii) Other than gurgling, taking honey with lukewarm milk or water is also good for curing painful tonsils.

(iii) Turmeric and black pepper powder mixed in warm milk are also effective.

(iv) A mixture of squeezed carrot, beetroot, and cucumber juice strengthens the body’s immune system that helps prevent tonsil infection.

(v) Herbal tea mixed with lemon and honey is a natural remedy for swollen tonsils.

 (vi) Avoid pollutants such as cigarette smoke and car exhaust.

(vii) Use a humidifier to relieve dry throat.

 (viii) Take rest for quick recovery.

(ix) Take balanced, healthy diet for strong immune system.

 (x) Taking proper hygienic measures help prevent microorganisms that cause white spots.

(xi) Suck lozenges to avoid irritation in the throat.

 (xii) Avoid spicy and highly acidic food.

(xiii) Limit your alcohol consumption.   

Medication for white spots on tonsils:

Consult the doctor for proper medication in case self-care does not provide a remedy with no reduction in pain.

(i) A course of antibiotics is prescribed in case of bacterial infection.

(ii) Corticosteroids are suggested for severe inflammation or other medicine like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB).

(iii) Antifungal medication is prescribed to treat thrush.

 (iv) Vaccination is better for white spots on tonsils caused by diphtheria.

(v) Paracetamol is used to relieve pain caused by white spots.

(vi) In chronic or recurrent cases, the doctor may prescribe surgical removal of tonsils called as tonsillectomy.  

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